. A few words of explanation may be added with regard to the principal features of the present edition.
Horace Walpole's Short Notes of my Life (which end with the month of May, 1779) are prefixed, hy way of introduction, to the first volume, together with a continuation (Toy the Editor) down to the date of his death. These Short Notes are invaluable as supplying personal information concerning the writer of the Letters, which is not accessible in any other form.
As it has only been possible to print a portion (less than half) of the letters from the originals it has been necessary, in order to present a consistent text, to follow the example of previous editors in modernizing Horace Walpole's spelling and revising his punctuation1. For similar reasons, it has been necessary to omit the addresses of the letters, and, in a few cases, the signatures. The latter, however, have been inserted wherever it was possible to recover them. Horace Walpole's spelling of proper names, even when inconsistent, has been retained as far as possible, his laxness in this respect being characteristic. In my own notes, as well as in the indices, the modern forms are employed, with cross references where necessary.
The notes to the letters have been compiled anew for this edition throughout, except in the case of the notes written by Horace Walpole himself. These have been retained in every instance, save where their retention would have involved needless repetition. Owing to the fact that Walpole annotated the several collections of his letters independently of each other, it not infrequently happens
1 The only exceptions to tMs rule are the five letters in French in Horace Walpole'a handwriting, addressed to Madame du Deffand,
•which, are printed from the originals exactly as Horace Walpole wrote them.